What Size Lamp Is Best for a Nightstand?



Having the right bedside lamp size may seem trivial, but it is not. After all, having the right bedside lamp size prevents one from having uncomfortable scenarios such as knocking a lampshade that just happens to have a water glass on it.


You would need to have a relaxing bedroom for your night activities, such as reading before a good night’s sleep. You need a bedside lamp that can give you good lighting, look good, and be easy to access.


Below, we detail some important information you need to consider to get the best size lamp for you.

Considerations for Getting the Proper, Best Nightstand Lamp Size

1. Note that the ‘right’ nightstand lamp size depends on room size.

You need to note that the best size for your bedside lamp really depends on how small or big your room is. Of course, if your room is larger, then you would need a larger nightstand lamp.


This is your starting point, which is especially helpful for deciding whether you want your lamp to blend well with your background or be a distinct decor. You also need to consider light sources in your room and the impact your nightstand lamp will have vis-a-vis your need for it (i.e., function). 

2. Consider the technical rule for bedside tables and lights.

A mistake that you need to avoid is choosing the wrong size (i.e., wrong width) for the nightstand lamp. You need to get the right scale, which is oftentimes a balancing act.


The general rule of thumb is that a bedside table should be ⅓ of the mattress width. To align with this scale, choose a lamp with its widest point as ⅓ of the bedside table’s width.


Imagine having a large room with a king-size bed if you need to visualize this beyond the measurements. That would require a lamp with a big decorative shade; these are statement table lamps at best.


However, if you have a smaller room, you will need slender nightstand lamps with smaller footprints. In fact, for more compact spaces where bedside tables no longer fit, you can have wall lights as alternatives.  


Another option for tighter spaces only has a one-floor lamp on the tighter side. Just use sconces on both sides of the bedroom.

3. Know the ideal lengths for a nightstand lamp. 

Finding the right height might be tricky – after all, you want a reading lamp that does not glare in your eyes or casts shadows on your books. 


The rule of thumb to consider is to have a lampshade that’s roughly your shoulder height whenever you are in bed. This helps secure the right lighting you need.


You’ll need a lamp with the same height as your nightstand with additional 2 or 3 inches for exact measurements. That means that a nightstand 24 inches high would need a lamp around 27 inches.


Your lamp’s height also helps you determine whether to place it vis-a-vis the switch. Make sure that you can easily reach it without leaving your bed. 


A lamp’s switch should be almost the same length as your arm for specific sizing. This is between 21 to 28 inches.

Other Tips for Picking Bedside Lamps

When picking bedside lamps, other things matter – not just size. For one, you don’t want too many nightstand lamps. One is enough, especially if it’s just you and a partner sleeping in the bedroom.


However, two bedside lamps might provide better balance for really large bedrooms with king-sized mattresses. 


In terms of types, you also have many options! For those with wooden tables, gold-finished or brass-finished lamps do the trick and look chic. 


A narrow metal table lamp works well with a glass side table. The pairings are endless; have fun decorating according to your style (.e.g, pair contemporary bedrooms with chrome laps or traditional rooms with ginger jar lamps).


The fabrics used in your bedroom also serve as guides for lighting color. Look for bedside lamps that complement blue fabrics if your room is mainly in blue hues.


Also, watch out for your bedroom's hardware. A room with brass doorknobs might benefit from having brass lamps, too!

The Bottom Line

These suggestions are by no means prescriptive. At the end of the day, you can pick a huge colorful lamp to your liking – even if you live in a compact space. 


You can break the rules as much as you want in the design world. However, these tips we have given can help you be mindful of your purchases.


After all, if you want good-looking bedside lamps fit for your nightstands, scaling really matters on top of other color combinations and similar styling schemes.


Good luck and have fun finding the right lamp for you!


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